Since search came into being, the way search mar­keters go about their busi­ness has sig­nif­i­cantly changed. There have been changes to the face of SEO and SEM, and mar­keters must go along and adjust or fear miss­ing out on any avenue of search. For the last few years, search engines have taken advan­tage of the oppor­tu­nity to alter the results their engines yield in order to increase prof­its by mak­ing SEM (paid ads) more preva­lent than SEO (organic search).

Mis­placed Frustration

SEO pro­fes­sion­als get frus­trated when search engines imple­ment these changes, but mar­keters should look at these changes as oppor­tu­ni­ties to build up their ver­sa­til­ity in search. SEM, because of its value, dri­ves the search com­mu­nity. Search engines can’t make money by devot­ing their results solely to organic SEO results. Thus, search engines must uti­lize SEM paid ads to bring in cash flow. SEM pays the bills. SEO is there to gather views.

Con­sumers Drive Search

Search engines will run as much SEM as they can. I say “as much as they can” because ulti­mately con­sumers drive search. Mar­keters must mold their search strate­gies to fit into the bounds set by search engines; plus, mar­keters need to give con­sumers what they want. If con­sumers don’t like what they see, they’ll look else­where. Mar­keters need to know this. There are plenty of capa­ble search engines on the net. It’s unlikely that any promi­nent search engine will ever switch over to a fully paid SEM scheme, but search engines cer­tainly intend to place SEM cen­ter stage in order to increase profits.

What This Means for Search Marketers

Search is made up of both organic and paid ele­ments. As search engines begins to weigh SEM heav­ier in search results, SEO mar­keters must be alert, flex­i­ble, and ready. They need to keep their search strate­gies dynamic and be pre­pared as search engines inevitably alter their algo­rithms to include more paid ads.

As SEM becomes more preva­lent, users might devalue imper­ti­nent SEO results. As SEM con­tin­ues to occupy search results pages, top, front-page SEO spots become more valu­able as they are grow­ing rarer. SEO mar­keters must be pru­dent about the future of search and the syn­ergy of SEO and SEM. As SEM ads become more com­mon, lead­ing SEO results increase in value as only the top organic results retain pre­mier place­ment in search results. Search engines will alter their algo­rithms to opti­mize prof­its, so mar­keters must be ready for these changes. SEO mar­keters can­not blindly focus their efforts. They must be flexible.

It’s not only a sin­gle search engine that’s shift­ing focus onto SEM, and it’s not only a sin­gle coun­try that com­prises the search mar­ket. Pop­u­lar national search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! have all been heav­ily weigh­ing paid search for some time now. Search mar­keters every­where, not only SEO guys, must be flex­i­ble as search engines change the game by con­tin­u­ally putting greater empha­sis on SEM.